Secretary General highlights NATO’s long-term adaptation to new security challenges
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underlined “the importance of what NATO is doing”, following the crises in Syria and Ukraine, at his address today (12 October 2015) to the 60th anniversary of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Stavanger (Norway).
“During the last year, we have doubled the size of the NATO Response Force, making it more ready and more capable, and established a high readiness Joint Task Force, able to move within a matter of days. We have increased our presence in the east, with more planes in the air, more ships at sea and more boots on the ground. We have established six new headquarters in our eastern Allies, with two more on the way. And we will soon deploy new advanced surveillance drones in Sicily. We have improved our decision making. And increased our exercises three-fold,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.
NATO Secretary General pointed out that the current instability surrounding us “is our new strategic reality, and it will be with us for the long-term.” “So our Alliance must also adapt to the long-term,” he added. To this effect Mr. Stoltenberg illustrated three priorities: modernized deterrence, relations with Russia, and the southern dimension. “First, we must modernize our deterrence, with better intelligence and early warning, a better integration or our land, sea and air forces, and significantly better cyber defence,” he said. “Second, as we approach our Warsaw Summit, we will assess the long-term implications of the current crisis on our relations with Russia; engagement is not the same as accepting a new status quo, or giving Russia a free hand,” he added. Third, instability “from Afghanistan, through the Middle East and across North Africa” is “a challenge that demands a comprehensive response, from the countries in the region and the entire International Community,” the Secretary General pointed out. “NATO has a role to play,” Mr. Stoltenberg added. “NATO must be ready and able to deploy forces when needed,” he said. “But we also have to get better at projecting stability without necessarily deploying large combat forces; call it Resolute Support, Defence Capacity Building or Partnership what matters is that from Afghanistan to Morocco, and many places in between, NATO is helping other countries to defend themselves; and to stabilise their own neighbourhoods; for if they are more stable, we are more secure; by building up the capacity of countries like Tunisia, Jordan or Mauritania; helping others, like Iraq and – at some point – Libya to strengthen their security,” he highlighted.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is an inter-parliamentary organization, which brings together legislators from NATO member countries to consider security-related issues of common interest and concern.
During his visit, Mr. Stoltenberg also met the Norwegian Prime Minister, Ms. Erna Solberg. The Secretary General also paid a visit to the NATO Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) in Stavanger.